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Experience the heart of the Norwegian winter at Mesna Weaving together Norwegian history, a uniquely captivating story, horseback riding and a novel approach to film location tourism, Mesna offers a truly unique experience. Add unbeatable scenery, warm hospitality and close proximity to the Olympic town of Lillehammer, and your active Mesna experience is fit for the big screen.

Peer Gynt at Gålå, the couple decided to make theirs a winter play. And what better story to start with than that of the Birkebeiners, which retells one of most dramatic events of Norwegian history?

By Julie Linden  |  Photos: Ian Brodie

It was after the Norwegian blockbuster Birkebeinerne (The Last King) in 2015 that the area rose to cinematic fame. Filmed around Mesna Farm on the shores of South Mesna Lake, a mere 25-minute drive from the Olympic town of Lillehammer, the historic storyline was brought to life by the stunning natural scenery as well as the star performance of Mesna’s herd of Icelandic horses. The story of the 12th- and 13th-century Birkebeiner rebels was cinematically woven into the local landscapes, and film locations have become an important part of what Mesna has to offer. Since then, numerous TV series, comedies like the acclaimed Netflix series, Lillyhammer, 84 | Issue 128 | September 2019

and promotional films have been shot in the area and on the farm.

The story of the Birkebeiners – a wintery drama From that first connection to the Birkebeinerne film, Mesna has now developed another show. This unique piece of local theatre – the Birkebeinerspelet outdoor play – is set in the middle of the snowy winter fields. Camilla Li and Kristoffer Hauger, owners of Mesna Farm, had acquired some of the sets from the film, and drawing inspiration from the Norwegian tradition of staging historical plays outside, like the outdoor production of Henrik Ibsen’s

The play is set at the end of the Viking era, when Norway was ravaged by a civil war. One side, the poorer Birkebeiners, were based in the province of Trøndelag. Their opponents, the Catholic Baglers, came from the Oslo area and further south, supported by the church and ultimately the pope in Rome. For either side, power depended on succession to the throne, and both sides had royal claims. When King Håkon Sverresson, leader of the Birkebeiners, died without an heir, the Baglers saw an opportunity for greater power. But King Håkon had fathered an illegitimate son by his mistress Inga from Varteig, and the baby boy, also called Håkon, was now a threat to the Baglers’ ambitions.

Profile for Scan Group

Scan Magazine, Issue 128, September 2019  

The September issue of Scan Magazine aims to nurse you into the cooler, darker season with a design section full of hygge and a brand-new cu...

Scan Magazine, Issue 128, September 2019  

The September issue of Scan Magazine aims to nurse you into the cooler, darker season with a design section full of hygge and a brand-new cu...